Jennifer Pike, Registrar at THINC College and Career Academy

December 11, 2014

“Some people think that if students are not interested by high school, you’ve lost them,” says Jennifer Pike, registrar at THINC College and Career Academy. She closed her eyes and shook her head. “That’s not true at all. I’ve easily engaged high school students with hands­on learning.”

And Pike would know. Indeed, as the first registrar of THINC, Pike joins the team with a tool belt of relevant experience. From teaching science at Callaway High School for nine years, to serving as an administrator at Gardner Newman Middle School for four years, to registering students for classes at LaGrange High School for the last two years, Pike knows students. And she’s ready to serve THINC’s students as registrar and career advisor.

But Pike didn’t always know she’d be in education.

After graduating college with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology, Pike planned to attend medical school. She signed up for a Kaplan course to prepare for the MCAT and, at the same time, applied for a job at Callaway High School. She walked into her first classroom and left nine years later.

“It was extremely natural for me to teach,” says Pike. “I just loved it. I had students with little or no prior knowledge of science, and it was my job to help them make connections between lab work and the books. The more I taught, the more I realized I made a huge impact in the classroom.”

No doubt influenced by her initial interest in medical practices, Pike taught students with a more hands­on approach. “I was very much a lab­based teacher,” she says. “I’ve always believed in kinesthetic learning styles. I can talk about abstract ideas in Chemistry all day, but, to see the light bulbs come on, to watch students make connections, to see them learn, I need to show an example, an application of some sort.”

“And many of our kids need this kind of learning,” she continued. “We have a population in today’s high schools who need more than the traditional classroom setting. They need practical learning. Who knows if they will go to college? These students need a skill to support themselves and their families. We lose a lot of kids who come out of high school, don’t go to college, and don’t have a skill”.

Having already cultivated a penchant for hands­on education, Pike helped kick­start THINC in its early stages. “I was invited to meetings two years ago,” says Pike, “to help think about how we could set up a schedule that would align with the high schools’ schedules. Once the board was developed and Dr. Carlisle was hired, I had no other role, until THINC’s registrar position opened.”

As THINC’s registrar, Pike will be responsible for assigning students the right classes with the right teachers. At LaGrange High School, her job was to supervise counselors; review transcripts; oversee academic advisements; and develop the master schedule for the upcoming year. At THINC, Pike’s job will be similar, except instead of one school, she’ll be working with all three high schools to develop a master schedule that aligns to theirs and thatmeets the needs of the students.

“I’m where I want to be,” Pike continued. “I want to see students succeed. I mean, today, a student could potentially enter a position as lineman, making $50,000. But to do that, she/he must be ready. Many people from industry tell us that young people who apply are not competent. They show up late. They’re inattentive to the work demands. They just don’t have the soft skills required. They’re missing a great opportunity by not being ready.” She paused, then continued. “Well, we’re going to get them ready.”

“I’m very excited to be at THINC,” she says. “I will be the registrar, and, I will also function as an academic/career advisor. The way I visualize it, I will have tons of interaction with students everyday.